Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock, NC

  • Published 2023/03/13

A town located in North Carolina’s Caldwell and Watauga counties, Blowing Rock is a scenic place at the mouth of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway.

The population is approximately 1,200 to 1,300.

The location of this town is a clear indicator of what a scenic paradise it holds for visitors.

It’s blessed with some of the most prestigious and naturally enriched parks that provide fabulous landscapes and views.

The sites of geological formations are a treat to witness, and the hiking paths are some of the prettiest you’ll see.

As it’s a mountainous area, tourists can enjoy loads of activities, like skiing and snowboarding.

Blowing Rock is also home to well-loved museums and breweries and some of the finest award-winning restaurants and cafes, many of which are found in the downtown area.

All these unite to make Blowing Rock an excellent choice for your travel plans.

Are you looking forward to exploring what this town has to offer?

Here are the best things to do in Blowing Rock, North Carolina:

Enjoy a Memorable Visit to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Exterior of the homestead at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Dee Browning /

The history of the legacy of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is classic.

It is located at the Moses Cone Estate, which belonged to the manufacturer Moses Cone.

In 1950, the 3,600-acre estate was given to the National Park services to be used as a public park.

Scenic nature view from Moses H. Cone Memorial Park homestead's porch

Dee Browning /

On the grounds, you’ll see a vast off-white mansion-like building that arguably features some of the finest architecture in Carolina.

Around it is the huge park area with breathtaking gardens and fabulously well-maintained woods; a lake is located nearby, too.

The entire area looks like a 1920s massive aristocratic film set, with its white Victorian walking paths, gardens, royal bird view, and mountains.

Dirt roads at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Jon Bilous /

Go on a Ride around Tweetsie Railroad

Welcome sign of Tweetsie Railroad

Nolichuckyjake /

Located on Tweetsie Railroad Lane, which is named after it, this family-friendly attraction offers a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Tweetsie Railroad is primarily an amusement park, which means there are loads of fun rides to choose from.

However, the thing that draws the main attraction is their fabulous toy train ride, which is like a real train, just with the addition of breathtaking decorative interiors and exteriors like the Hogwarts Express.

Apart from this, there are mini-car rides, playhouses, a park zoo where you can feed the deer, a costume party, a huge food bar, and massive rides for visitors of all ages.

See the Actual Blowing Rock

View from the Blowing Rock

jamee Kennedy /

This cliff formation is one of the oldest tourist attractions in North Carolina.

The Blowing Rock is a geological cliff, the formation of which approximately dates back 250 years.

Uphill trail of Blowing Rock

Jill Lang /

It is surrounded by mountains and is situated around 4,000 feet above sea level.

It’s called the Blowing Rock because its wall formations form a flume through which the northwest forcefully sweeps in, hence returning light objects cast over this chasm.

Therefore, the view and the windy aura at that height combine to create one of the most otherworldly sights one can experience.

People at Blowing Rock's summit

Roni Ben Ishay /

Hunt for Gems at Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine

Your dreams of witnessing and holding raw, uncut gems like an adventurer might just come true at Doc’s Rock Gem Mine.

This precious mine is located at 100 Shoppes on Parkway Road.

Doc’s Rock Gem Mine is both a geology store and a museum and has an array of all the stones, gems, and rocks you’ll want to see or know about.

From uncut diamonds to graphite and quarts, you can see and feel for yourself every stone with adequate information attached.

There is also a large gem mining area for children, making Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine a family-friendly attraction.

It is one of the most unique and fun spots in the mine with huge tubs.

Relax by the Tranquil Bass Lake

The still waters of Bass Lake

Margaret.Wiktor /

Bass Lake is said to be a massive attraction for photographers across North Carolina due to the varied shots and views of nature it provides.

To simply take a walking tour of the entire area would take three to four hours.

A goose on the waters of Bass Lake

SandyShusterPhotography /

There is a natural park surrounding the vast lake, and after that, there are deep woods with trees of the finest species.

An almost eerie feeling will surround you as you stand quietly or walk through the richly colored rainbow path of green, olive, mustard, honey, and crimson leaves.

Fishing and animal-watching are musts when visiting Bass Lake.

People sitting on a bench overlooking Bass Lake

Nolichuckyjake /

Explore and Snap Photos around Mystery Hill

One of the most astounding places to occur on earth, North Carolina’s Mystery Hill provides one of the few natural gravitational anomalies to occur here.

Get ready to literally be moved and tilted when visiting this tourist attraction.

Take your camera or phone with you, as you will not want to miss out on any photo opportunities while exploring the place.

Apart from the famous National Gravitational Anomaly, there are other massively cool things to enjoy.

There’s Bubblerama, a giant bubble you and your friends can enter; Prospector Hill Gem Mining, where you can hunt for treasures; Tomahawk Hill, where you can play an ax- or knife-throwing game and join the Bull Riding Challenge; and the Native American Artifacts Museum, which is home to the world’s largest private collection of Native American artifacts.

Go Hiking along the Glen Burney Trail

Wooden bridge along Glen Burney Trail


When in Blowing Rock, lose yourself in the beauty of nature and break a sweat while having fun along the Glen Burney Trail.

This is very close to the small town’s center, and once you enter, you will not run short of paths to run or hike and views to capture.

Welcome sign of Glen Burney Trail


In winters, the area is snow-filled, and you’ll surely enjoy walking on a snowy evening.

Meanwhile, in the summer, the paths are richly laid with vegetation.

As you walk by, you will find a waterfall, where the gushing water tumbles through the massive rocky formations from the green woods.

A waterfall along Glen Burney Trail

Jerry Whaley /

Visit the Royal Flat Top Manor

Exterior of the Royal flat top Manor

digidreamgrafix /

Flat Top Manor, also known as Moses Cone Estate, is located on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway.

The estate spreads over an area of about 3,600 acres with huge orchards, woods, gardens, fields, and farm-like spots.

Front view of Royal Flat Top Manor's exterior

Thoracias, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The manor is located on an elevated platform, and the front entrance makes it hard to believe if it is a concrete structure or a set.

Finely symmetrical and white in color with spellbinding details, the manor has an arresting look to it.

You can go inside, and in the winter, standing on the white Victorian verandah and watching the snow drizzle swiftly onto the mountain peaks is a treat.

Have an Adventure at Julian Price Park

Kayaks and Paddle boats in Julian Price Park

Margaret.Wiktor /

Julian Price Park has cottagecore-looking classic wooden stairs made out of tree branches amidst the woods and a wooden bridge to help you stroll through the jungle.

They are also built around a lake.

There are sitting areas amidst the park, which include chairs and tables.

Men fishing at Julian Price Park

Dee Browning /

What is unique is that all these are made out of pure forest wood with the same rugged branch-like finish, hence you will feel like they emerged naturally.

Boating in the lake is a favorite activity among travelers, in addition to fishing and birdwatching.

Hiking is also frequently enjoyed in this park.

A woman with her fresh catch at Julian Price Park

Dee Browning /

Go Skiing at Appalachian Ski Mountain

People at the Appalachian Ski Mountain

digidreamgrafix /

True fun in the mountains is best experienced outdoors and in the presence of good fat snow.

Appalachian Ski Mountain provides exactly that ambiance for you and your family.

An extremely friendly and active sporting area, this place is loved for snow activities like skiing and snowboarding.

Other fun things like taking the ropeway are also available, promising an amazing ride.

The area is vast and widespread, covered in snow and teeming with kids and families skating and playing everywhere.

It is therefore bound to uplift your spirits in addition to providing the best snow activities, sports, and games.

Grab a Drink at Blowing Rock Brewing Co.

The cool owners call this place a “boutique brewing facility.”

Blowing Rock Brewing Co. is a state-of-the-art wining and dining area located exactly at the heart of Blowing Rock.

It is officially the very first brewery in Bowling Rock and is capable of making standards, lagers, and high gravity ales.

After enjoying activities skiing, snowboarding, fishing, and hiking, you will definitely want to sit back, relax, and grab your favorite beer.

This place has a wide variety of brews that will win your heart.

A tour of the brewery is also available with the help of the super friendly staff.

For those who do not want to drink, check out the fabulous food platter with a paradise of classic American delicacies, like fish and fries, the famous Carolina Bison Burger, Porter Braised Brisket Tacos, gorgeously glazed pretzels, Buffalo Bleu Cheese BBQ, and many more.

Blowing Rock Brewing Co. has even won awards for its innovative brewing techniques.

There are both indoor and outdoor seating areas, the latter of which features a fabulous garden and a scenic ambiance.

Be Amazed by the Beauty of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum

Exterior of Blowing Rock Art and History Museum

Nolichuckyjake /

Usually open between 10 am and 5 pm every day, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is located on Ginny Stevens Lane.

At very first glance, the basic view of the architecture will surely touch your heart and soothe your eyes.

In the middle of a lawn is the museum with a coned top and brick walls.

Made of greyish stone bricks, a finely structured old set of buildings, and a beautiful garden all around, this museum is a treat from the outside.

As you enter, a world full of pictures, artifacts, and fabulously segmented rooms awaits your presence.

They are known for generously supporting local artists; hence you are sure to witness some beautiful ethnic pieces of art.

There are some really valuable paintings showcased here, including one by Pablo Picasso.

A range of historical memorabilia, including ancient gramophones, is also on display.

You will also find souvenirs at the gift shop.

Spend Quality Time at Broyhill Park

A gazebo near the waters of Broyhill Park

Cvandyke /

Also known as the “Walking Park,” Broyhill Park is a mystical wonder of nature and has been extremely well-themed and well-maintained by its owners.

You can take your family here for some quality time or go all by yourself to explore and find solace.

The park spreads over a vast area, comprising several different types of gardens.

One segment is a favorite among visitors because of its alternate colored trees, like red, yellow, and orange trees or trees with pink flowers blooming.

A pathway at Broyhill Park

Cvandyke /

There is, of course, the lake, by which you can sit and watch the scenic sunset.

There are finely decorated pathways through which you can go hiking.

You can also go fishing, boating, or simply have a nice picnic by the gardens or read a nice book sitting by the rustic benches.

There is a beautiful pavilion or porch-like monument on the lake water banks through which you can get the perfect waterside views.

Broyhill Park must be therefore included in your Blowing Rock itinerary.

Please the Reader in You at the Blowing Rock Community Library

A unique and quirky way to make your travel to any place a memorable one is to find a distinct place to read there.

The Blowing Rock Community Library will complete any bibliophile’s visit to the town.

It is not just another basic library.

The uniqueness of this place comes from its old otherworldly charm, and the architecture looks like that of a big cottage in the blossoming woods.

You’ll feel as if this is your secret reading cottage when you enter the library after crossing the heavily blooming garden.

There is a fireplace inside the library, and the collection of books is rare.

Get to Know Blowing Rock at Tanger Outlets

The best way to know a town is to mix within it—and the best way to do so is to go to the shopping areas.

In the case of Blowing Rock, Tanger Outlets is the place to go.

This beautiful area is like a little marketplace but has the finest brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Talbots, and more.

The area has a vast and beautifully decorated courtyard-style area filled with fancy benches and tables for customers to sit with a cup of coffee or dessert.

Tanger Outlets brims with restaurants and cafes.

Try the Delicacies of Storie Street Grill

Storie Street Grill at 1167 Main Street offers some of the best delicacies in Blowing Rock that every traveler has to try out.

You can go there for Sunday Brunch and sample their extensive menu.

Order the Nashville or some Asparagus Fries; you can also give them Lemon Ricotta pancakes if you’re looking for something more interesting.

Their main dishes, on the other hand, include Chicken Parmesan, NC Trout, and Pork Belly.

They also serve different types of salad, and you can top those off with some grilled, blackened, or fried chicken, shrimp, or salmon for a small fee.

Go on the Flat Top Hike

The gorgeous outdoors is definitely one of the main selling points of Blowing Rock, and going on the Flat Top trail is one of the best ways to appreciate this.

The trail is 2.5 miles long and leads to a historic lookout tower on the summit of the mountain.

As you walk, you’ll pass through vast open meadows filled with wildflowers and lush green forests.

Explore the Pre-Historic World at the Appalachian Fossil Museum

The Appalachian Fossil Museum gives you a glimpse of something that even predates history.

One of their most famous displays is the skeleton of a t-rex, but they also have specimens of different species of prehistoric animals from all over the country.

They even have some rare gemstones from Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

And, once you’re done exploring their exhibits, you can stop by their gift shop to pick up a souvenir.

They have toys, puzzles, fossil specimens and replicas, t-shirts, and more!

Dine at Bistro Roca

Bistro Roca is another restaurant you have to try out.

It was established in 2005 as what you’d imagine a neighborhood restaurant would be, and it hasn’t strayed from that image in all the years its been operating.

The casual and open atmosphere is perfect if you’re just looking for a place to hang out and relax with your traveling companions.

While you’re there, try to sample their lunch menu; it has a lot of gems in it just waiting to be discovered.

One of the best dishes there, for example, is the Cuban Crepe, which consists of slow-braised pork, local country ham, swiss cheese, chickpea and hominy salad, as well as a side of plantains.

Expand Your Knowledge at the 1888 Museum

The 1888 Museum is found just on the south side of Memorial Park and is the last standing cottage of the historic Watauga Hotel.

The hotel was built in 1884 when residents from all over the area wanted to visit Blowing Rock to experience the cool mountain air.

The original cottage was designed to have two rental units with entrance doors on the side.

The things you’ll find in this museum are usually not from the cottage itself but were from the same era.

However, one room, in particular, was furnished in the exact same way it would have looked when people rented it out in the 1800s.

Relax in the Green Space of Annie Cannon Gardens

Annie Cannon Gardens is one of the most underrated attractions in Blowing Rock because of its tucked-in location.

This recreation area is notable for its green space and luscious vegetation.

Its creekside setting also makes it an ideal spot for outdoor gatherings and venues.

In fact, the space is rentable for intimate weddings and receptions.

Take in the scent of grass and flowers when you come by this passive park in Blowing Rock.

Annie Cannon Gardens sits near the trailhead of Glen Burney Trail on Laurel Lane.

Attend an Art Event at Edgewood Cottage

Exterior of Edgewood Cottage

Nolichuckyjake /

Open to the public, Edgewood Cottage is both an arts center and a historical landmark.

This cottage is the preserved home of Elliott Daingerfield built in 1890.

Though the cottage is fairly known for its Artists in Residence program, it also hosts various events, like weekly art shows.

So, if you are in need of an art expedition while in Blowing Rock, this is the place to be.

On Main Street, Edgewood Cottage sits opposite St. Mary’s Episcopal.

Welcome sign of Edgewood Cottage

Nolichuckyjake /

Go on a Wine Tasting Adventure at Sunset & Vine

You can never have enough wine-tasting sessions while you’re in Blowing Rock.

Sunset & Vine is one of the wine shops in the town that can make sure of that.

In its early days, its name was Christopher’s Wine & Cheese.

Now, the specialty wine shop takes pride in its locally-distributed and affordable wines.

It also offers cheese and chocolate products that go along with your favorite choice of wine.

You can find Sunset & Vine off of Sunset Drive.

Cheer for Horses at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show

You have never fully experienced Blowing Rock if you’ve never attended the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show at least once.

This annual event has been a town staple for over a century.

Its first show was in 1923, and throughout the years, it only preserved the beauty of horse sports.

There’s a saddlebred show, as well as a jumping division, that allows you to cheer for competing horses and their riders.

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show takes place in Broyhill Equestrian Preserve on Laurel Lane.

The event starts in June and lasts in August.

Complete the Obstacle Course at High Gravity Adventures Zip Line and Aerial Park

For daring adventurers, High Gravity Adventures Zip Line and Aerial Park is for you!

This aerial park opened in 2015 but the vision for the park started way back in 1992.

Back then, it went by the name Challenge Towers.

Now, several years later, High Gravity Adventures Zip Line and Aerial Park takes pride in its high-tech mechanisms and aerial courses.

Whether you prefer to lay back and glide down the natural areas of Blowing Rock with a zipline or pass through complicated obstacle courses, this park has a pleasant surprise for you.

Feel the adrenaline rush over you with the three-person giant swing or the ninja course.

You can bring the whole family over, too, since most of the park’s aerial attractions are kid-friendly.

You can find this park on Tweetsie Railroad Lane between the towns of Boone and Blowing Rock.

Final Thoughts

Blowing Rock is a place with a deep connection to nature, and it’s a wonderful destination if you just want to get away from modern life.

Lose yourself in the mountains, the long hikes, the numerous trails, and the lovely view.

The features are so unique and unlike anything else you’ve ever seen that it’s hard not to fall in love with the place right then and there.

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